Audio is not a new proposition at Dow Jones. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network was the leading provider of business-news programming for radio stations in the United States for more than 35 years until it’s closure in December of 2014.
In 2015, Dow Jones entered into the podcast market, providing listeners an updated audio outlet to experience its exceptional coverage of the top news stories. As the format evolved and popularity of podcasts began to surge, we began to brainstorm a marquee podcast that would present the very best of the coverage that The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has to offer its listeners.
In mid-2018, the WSJ newsroom teamed up with Gimlet Media (pre-Spotify acquisition) to co-produce the marquee show. The partnership allowed WSJ to tap into the audio storytelling capabilities and advertising salesforce of Gimlet. In return, Gimlet gained access to the Journal’s insightful reporting, deep analysis, and exclusive coverage.
After months of producing pilots and defining work flows, The Journal launched in the summer of 2019. The daily show focused on the themes of money, business, and power. It is an evolving example of how we continue to expand our audio offerings and bring our members top-tier products across all multi-media platforms.
The show’s editorial pedigree was super-charged by Spotify’s acquisition of Gimlet, and very quickly The Journal benefited from Spotify’s technological prowess and scale. Throughout the first year of our partnership, the immediate initiative was audience development.
Internally we worked to integrate podcasts within WSJ products, building in-article players, creating an in-line app player, and integrating audio placements within newsletters and on the homepage. We also launched a multi-tier awareness campaign spanning across social, display, and out-of-home.
Partnering with the Spotify curation team, we tested placements through Spotify playlists, like “Your Daily Drive” and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, within the “Stay in the Know” playlist. Running across Spotify playlists helped gain followers and increase daily habit, which led to growth in overall Spotify “followers” for the show.
This Journal initiative recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, and it has proven its value both on the editorial and commercial fronts. Advertising sponsorship has exceeded expectations in its first year despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. To date there have been more than 30 advertisers across categories like technology, B2B, B2C, and automotive.
Advertising sales were recently propelled by Spotify’s new Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) technology. Marketers now have the opportunity to receive first-party data that is not available on any other platform. For our membership business, The Journal provides a funnel of new prospects and has had a demonstrable effect on increasing active days among members and reducing churn.
Working with Spotify on this podcast venture has allowed us to work with and learn from one of the leaders in the audio business. Year one of the partnership has proven to be a year of growth and learning. As we continue into year two, we will utilise the strengths of both companies to continue to develop the show, serving members across WSJ and Spotify as well as our advertising partners.